That Republicans and Democrats seem so easily bruised by the network coverage of presidential debates shows that both expect the forums to produce infomercials that glorify their candidates, not journalistic grillings. Priebus voiced his preference for infomercial coverage in 2013 after the Republicans voted to block CNN and NBC from hosting debates.
“Our party should not be involved in setting up a system that encourages the slicing and dicing of candidates over a long period of time with moderators that are not in the business of being at all concerned about the future of our party,” Priebus said. Refreshingly direct!
As for the Democrats, no matter your view of Fox or the New Yorker’s view of Fox, the party’s avoidance of the network reveals a shameful political gutlessness, especially considering that Fox intended to assign tame newsers Bret Baier and Chris Wallace to the debate, not feral opinionators Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Being president involves making unpalatable decisions and confronting tough customers on a daily basis. It means learning how to tell voters what they don’t want to hear and convince them they should like it. So any politician who can’t hold his own against a journalist from the other team should be disqualified from running.